Record Number of Passengers Screened and Guns Confiscated in 2016 According to TSA

Jan 12, 2017

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Today on its blog, the TSA released stats for the full year of 2016, including how many people were screened, how many bags were screened, the number of firearms discovered and more. All in all, 2016 was a very busy year for travel — the TSA screened more than 738 million passengers in total, which is about 43 million more passengers than in 2015. A whopping 466 million checked bags passed through TSA screening equipment — safe to say the airlines made quite a bit of money from those checked bag fees last year.

Along with the increase in total passengers who traveled, there was a dramatic jump in the number of firearms discovered at checkpoints around the nation. In total, 3,391 guns were found in carry-on bags, which represents a 28% increase over last year’s firearm discoveries. 83% of the guns discovered were loaded — certainly an unnerving statistic, but thankfully the TSA remained vigilant and discovered these weapons before they were allowed anywhere near the inside of an airplane.


Firearms were discovered at a total of 238 airports across the country, with Atlanta (ATL), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Phoenix (PHX), Denver (DEN), Orlando (MCO), Nashville (BNA), Tampa (TPA), Austin (AUS) and Salt Lake City (SLC) making up the top 10 airports in terms of number of guns discovered.

Of course it’t not just guns that get discovered and confiscated — the TSA comes across many peculiar items, such as grenades, sword canes, comb knives, machetes, saws and axes. It’s alarming to see just how many dangerous weapons are confiscated, but we’re grateful that the agency’s checkpoint system is effective in preventing these items from boarding planes with passengers.

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